Kadifekale Castle, locally known just as Kadifekale, lies on a mountain in the center of the city of Izmir, in the province of Izmir in Turkey.
The story of Kadifekale Castle is completely connected to the history of the ancient Greek city of Smyrna. Smyrna was built on the top of Mt. Pagos and its slopes facing the sea around the 3rd century BC. The fortifications on Mt. Pagos were the acropolis and part of the city walls.
In 197 BC Smyrna was taken under the control of the Kingdom of Pergamon. It fell to the Romans after the death of Attalos II, King of Pergamon. In 178 AD the city was hit by a devastating earthquake but rebuilt on the orders of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. In 395 AD the Roman Empire was divided and Smyrna came under Byzantine rule. The Byzantines restored the castle.
During the next centuries Smyrna became a prized possession and was ruled by Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders and Genoans.
In 1317 Kadifekale Castle, then called Yukari Kale, was taken by Aydιnoğlu Mehmet Bey but he was unable to take the lower city, then called Aşağı Kale. The lower city was taken by his son Ghazi Umur Bey in 1329. In 1344 however, an army of Crusaders took the lower city, then called Liman Kalesi. In 1402 the Mongol warlord Timur (or Tamerlane) conquered the Christian part of Smyrna, uniting the Yukari Kale and Liman Kalesi. In 1422 the city was taken by the Ottoman Sultan Murat II. In the 1440s Kadifekale Castle was restored by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror. It are mainly the remains of his restoration that we see today.
In 1671 Kadifekale Castle was visited by Evliya Çelebi, a famous Ottoman Turkish traveller. He stated that only vineyards, gardens and several houses, inhabited by some 30 Janissaries and their families, survived inside the castle. The inns, baths, the bazaar and the mosque inside its walls were ruined.
A very nice castle ruin although the inside of the castle is rather empty. There is a ruin of a 14th century mosque and part of a Byzantine cistern. The castle is freely accesible.